Exposing the Dirty Secret behind CRMs

Who can forget when cosmetics giant Avon famously pulled the plug on its global SAP CRM rollout? After a 4-year, $125 million investment, the company was forced to abandon ship due to “‘….the degree of impact or change in the daily processes to the [Avon] representative….’” and the subsequent “‘….steep drop in the active representative count.’” I.e. Avon reps’ refusal to adopt this new solution killed the deal.

Of course, a loss like this is a mere drop in the bucket in an industry that generates upwards of $20 billion annually and is projected to be a $36 billion market by 2017. In fact, there are now more than 350 CRMs available on the market, and in a recent study by Capterra, more than half of respondents from both B2B and B2C companies said their organizations use CRM.

Given the volume of businesses purchasing and using CRMs, statistically speaking, Avon can’t be alone in its debacle. But with so much money and opportunity at stake, the CRM industry has worked to keep customers’ adoption challenges and the consequences on sales intelligence quiet.

The Truth about CRM Adoption

The truth is, if you take the time to research CRM adoption rates and rep productivity, the picture isn’t as rosy as it may appear. Consider the following statistics:

Despite the massive investments that companies are making in sales tools, sales leaders are struggling to get reps to adopt them. With a workforce that is accustomed to using consumer-facing applications that simplify their lives anytime, anywhere, clunky, decade-old platforms that require painstaking data entry and desktops just won’t cut it.

And as industries like marketing and customer success have become increasingly data-driven, sales has been left lagging behind, struggling to collect and connect enough data points to derive statistically significant insights.

The Impact on Insights

While many CRMs promise deep insights into sales performance, the reality is that, with reps entering so little information throughout the sales cycle, achieving these insights simply is not possible from a data volume perspective. And even if it were, most solutions don’t really offer the big data infrastructure necessary to provide them.

Instead, these solutions offer (or integrate with other solutions that offer) reports that provide simple snapshots of overall performance. If you want answers to basic questions such as, “what were my total sales last quarter?” or, “how are my reps performing according to plan?” these reports can give you a simple yes or no answer – but understanding why this might be happening is a different story.

The Next Generation of Sales Tools

Apollo ViewThe next generation of sales tools recognizes that insights are only as good as the data driving them. They are built to drive rep adoption through ease of use, can capture and process a large volume and variety of data and provide actionable sales insights.

So how can you tell if you’re dealing with a next generation sales platform and not a legacy CRM? Here are a few things to look out for:

  • It doesn’t force sales reps to bounce between systems to send emails, make calls or run reports. This type of all-in-one solution not only increases the likelihood of data input, but also prevents data from becoming siloed in various systems across your organization.
  • It’s as seamless to use as Google or Yelp, even on mobile devices. Simple features like drag-and-drop and drop-downs go a long way – if field reps can’t enter information on-the-go, the chances they will remember the next time they’re at their desks are slim.
  • It should automate as much data collection as possible. The less data reps have to enter manually, the more time time they can spend selling – and the lower the chances of human error impacting data integrity.
  • It doesn’t just offer reports that describe what’s happening in your sales, but provides insights that prescribe what steps can be taken to achieve a specific result.

As the dirty secret of the CRM industry continues to come to light, leading organizations will begin searching for next-generation sales platforms that power rep adoption and actionable, quantifiable insights. For a list of key questions to aid in your search for this type of solution, download our free white paper, 7 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Sales Software.

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